The city that never sleeps is perhaps the most visited city of the United States. Diverse and exciting, this city is famous for its fashion, food and fast pace. NYC is a great place to visit, with attractions perfect for everyone. It can be a pricey experience but great deals can always be found. Whilst you are in New York City, make sure you explore the rest of the state and see some of the best things to do in New York.

The sights of New York City are well known for most but here’s my list of top things to do in New York. Make sure you find some time to explore magical Times Square and take your own walking tour of NYC and snap the famous buildings and landmarks across the city that never sleeps.

Typical Costs

Hostel/Budget rates – Dorm beds cost around $40 – $70

Midrange Hotel rates – Private double rooms cost between $100 – $250 depending on location.

Luxury Hotel rates – Central luxurious hotels can cost anything from $325 +

Transport – Bus or subway ride $2.50, 7 day transit pass $30.

Taxi rides will cost around $15-$20 around the city – just avoid rush hour and remember roads are one way, so it may help to walk up or across one block to get a shorter journey.

Average cost of food – New York City is famous for its food, from its dollar pizza slices to its food truck taco from $2.50. Food is everywhere so it shouldn’t be hard to find a restaurant that suits your budget.

Read about how Claire saves money using the New York Pass.

Where to stay

Hostel/Budget – The New York Budget Inn is a popular choice for backpackers visiting New York., with dorm beds starting from $50 and double rooms with private ensuite starting at $80. An ideal location near convenience stores, cheap eats and a metro station. Jazz on the Park Youth Hotel is found in a great location near central park, with dormitory rooms starting at $50.

Midrange – For me, there is nothing better than waking up and walking through Times Square to start off a day exploring NYC. That is why Hilton Times Square is my favourite place to stay when visiting this great city, with luxury rooms starting at $169. As a natural cook, Calum favours the Radio City Apartments with kitchen included; helping you save lots of money on food whilst in the city. Studios start at $135 per night with two bedroom apartments available from $255. During our first stay in NYC we spent 5 nights at Econo Lodge Times Square as it was a decent price considering its proximity to all the attractions – however check for good deals as we noticed when planning our second trip, that prices had risen to similar costs of the higher end chains such as Hilton and Crown Plaza.

Top End – Located on Times Square, The Knickbocker is a 5 star hotel with a beautiful rooftop terrace and directly above the Times Square – 42nd Street Metro Station, allowing easy access to the whole city with rooms starting at $276. For those wishing to splurge, The Chatwal Hotel, A luxury Collection Hotel can be found on West 44th Street; a 5 minute walk to Broadway and 2 blocks from Times Square, rooms starting at $505.

How to get there

Fly – Newark Liberty International Airport is often overlooked yet cheap flights from Europe can be found flying to Newark every day. From Newark you can jump on the NJ transit rail service to Penn Station for $12.50 each way, then take a metro, taxi or walk to your hotel from there. The trip takes 25 minutes and runs between 4.20am to 1.40am every 20-30 minutes. An express bus is also available that takes you to the Port Authority bus terminal, Bryant park and Grand Central Station; costing $16 one way or a taxi will set you back $45 – $60. JFK is the most popular airport for those heading to the big apple, from here you can get a yellow taxi at a flat rate of $52, taking 45 – 60 minutes or again the express bus. The subway is the cheapest option but will take at least 90 minutes with quite a few changes, whilst the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) is a popular choice; from the airport you can take the AirTrain ($5) to Jamaica station, then from here jump on a train to Penn Station for $7.50, taking just 20 minutes. La Guardia Airport is mainly used for domestic flights and a taxi to Midtown Manhattan will cost approximately $42, whilst the express bus NYC Airporter will cost you $13.

Bus – For longer journeys I suggest Greyhound, Peter Pan Railways or Shoreline Bus to take you to and from Port Authority Bus Terminal in Central Manhattan, just a few blocks from Times Square. Budget buses such as BoltBus, Megabus and Vamoose operate from just outside Penn Station whilst the ever-growing Chinatown Buses can take you to and from Chinatown NYC to Chinatowns across America.

Train – Amtrak trains service at Penn Station from across the East Coast whilst the New Jersey Transit operates trains to and from the suburbs and Jersey shore. The Long Island Rail Road operates services to and from Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island whilst the Metro-North Railroad serves Connecticut, Westchester County and the Hudson Valley.

Getting around

The Subway is the most efficient and convenient way of getting around the city, and is fairly inexpensive. Single rides are $2.50 but a 7 day unlimited pass costs $29. However, the metro runs from North to South, South to North of NYC and not across the city. So if are say at the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space museum on the far west side of Manhattan, but you wanted to head across to Rockefeller centre, you would either have to walk the 6 blocks across town or jump on a bus or get a cab. The buses are a great way to head across Manhattan and using google maps is a brilliant way to find out which route is best for you. However, avoid rush hour as buses can get very busy and warm in the summer months. We loved taking a New York Water Taxi to see the sights on the Hudson River.

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